First Thursdays

First Thursdays are outdoor festivals that showcase the diversity of arts and humanities at IU Bloomington and offer a welcoming environment for students to explore new creative outlets and engage with the work of their peers and faculty members. Previous festivities have included everything from opera signers to breakdancers, stage-fighting to clay-throwing, and much, much more. Each First Thursday is unique, and each is a great opportunity to experience the wonderful work of artists, performers, and scholars from all across campus.

The April First Thursday will carry on the spirit of our larger festivals with a special emphasis on supporting local artists. The festival will offer unique opportunities for creative exploration and engagement, but with a focus on small-stage performances and individual activities spread out around several Open Air Venues. This First Thursday Trail will allow for better social-distancing and other public safety measures. 

Inclement Weather Notice

First Thursday Cancellation

Due to unseasonably cold temperatures forecasted for April 1 and our 'rain date' of April 2, we must sadly cancel this month's festival. The temperatures are simply too cold for many of our performers and other participants to present the festival in its truest spirit. 

We will be back stronger than ever in the fall, though, and we hope you'll join in the festivities beginning on September 2. 

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

Conrad Prebys Amphitheater


Grammy Award-winning bluegrass fiddler Michael Cleveland and his band, Flamekeeper, headline the April First Thursday with an outdoor performance for the entire community. Cleveland hails from Henryville, IN, and he has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and before the U.S. Congress, among many other places. He has been recognized by the International Bluegrass Music Association as Fiddle Player of the Year 12 times. 

Supporting Local Artists!

This month's First Thursday celebrates the enduring strength of Hoosier creativity. It's always important to show some love for the artists and musicians who make Bloomington such an inspiring place, but after more than a year of social distancing, they need the community's support more than ever. The April First Thursday Festival is the perfect opportunity to show your appreciation for the creative spirit that fuels our campus and town. Cheer on dozens of local performers on multiple stages, contribute to collaborative community-focused art projects, and visit Artists Row Presented by Baird, an open-air arts marketplace featuring work from student and community artists. 

More About Artists Row Presented by Baird

Eskenazi Museum of Art Terrace


  • Mira Walker playing "Spring Intermezzo" and "Summer Interlude" from Betty Jackson King's Four Seasonal Sketches
  • Fernando Garcia playing selections (TBD) from Margaret Bonds's Spiritual Suite
  • Amanda Andrishak playing "Out of the Silence" from William Grant Still's Seven Traceries
  • Joseph Stiefel playing 1st movement of Florence Price's Sonata in E minor
  • Jude Richardson playing 2nd movement of Florence Price's Sonata in E minor



  • Guochen Liu, performing Beethoven: Sonata in E Major, Op. 109
  • Aglaja Petrova, performing Ravel: Sonatine
  • Svjatoslav Korolev, performing  Medtner: Sonata Reminiscenza, Op. 38 No. 1
  • Hengyuan Zhang, performing Brahms:  Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Handel, Op. 24

Woodburn Hall to Prebys Amphitheater

The CANVAS/Union Board table will have a variety of craft activities and past Canvas Magazines for people to pick up! We will also be providing information about our organization. 

Stop by the FYE table and help us build a puzzle. Students will decorate a puzzle piece, sharing what they bring to the community. When the puzzle is complete – a picture of IU will be created. 

Each week, Indiana University Cinema will offer a chance to engage with us in our virtual screening room, presenting a mix of programs to include new releases, conversations with filmmaker friends, curated student film programs, and much more. The majority of these will be completely free to experience and have interactive Q&A sessions to offer communal film experiences during these times. Stop by IU Cinema’s table to get a taste of these virtual events, ask questions, and hear about Spring 2021 offerings. We will also be featuring a quiz game on our Spring 2021 for students to have a full understanding of our programs!

Paper marbling is a centuries-old technique used by people around the world to express themselves. Drop by the IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology table and learn how to create your art during this family-friendly activity.

Join the Jacobs School of Music as they celebrate their 100th anniversary! Sign up to receive announcements about the 2021-22 Jacobs Season, explore courses for non-music majors, and take in virtual performances from anywhere in the world.

HHart is an organization at IU that celebrates the artistic talents of students and provides a platform for underrepresented artists. In March, we launched our online gallery showcasing over 70 students'  artwork. For First Thursday, we created coloring pages of several pieces that were displayed in our showcase, and we will be handing those out with a pack of crayons. You can take one (or as many as you would like) to go with you, or you can stick around and have a socially distanced coloring session with us!

The Political and Civic Engagement (PACE) Program invites you to stop by our First Thursdays booth! Pick up a small pot, some soil, and seeds with instructions for planting. You will also have fun opportunities for photos, as part of a Flowering Democracy. Additionally, we will recognize the 50th anniversary of the ratification of the 26th amendment, which expanded the vote to citizens as young as 18 years old. Come join us at the PACE booth and help bring Democracy into full bloom!

Welcome to the Places & Spaces: Mapping Science and Amatria booth! Places & Spaces is a traveling exhibit that showcases innovative approaches to data visualization, critical for making sense of the large streams of data we confront on a daily basis. Enjoy interacting on our touch-screen kiosk with the Places & Spaces macroscopes, software tools that help us focus on patterns in data that are too complex to see with the naked eye. Additionally, we invite you to celebrate with us as we near the 3rd birthday of the living sculpture, Amatria, by viewing a short film and seeing up-close parts of the 3D-printed formations that make 'her' alive with artificial intelligence.

Themester’s fall theme is RESILIENCE. Learn about the College’s fall theme, pick up a poster and sign-up for more information and T-shirt and book giveaways.

Participants will have the opportunity to test their knowledge of South Asia (i.e., India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal), with the chance to win great prizes!

The Department of French and Italian is thrilled to be participating in First Thursdays for the third time! We will offer a trivia game about French, Francophone, and Italian culture plus hands-on coloring (for adults and children) of iconic art works and depictions of famous structures in France, Italy, and the Francophone world. Gloves will be required and social distancing enforced. Also, new this year and in line with the theme of local artists, we are proud to present art works by our students and faculty members, who will be present to chat about their art and also about the many fascinating course offerings and enrichment activities our Department offers.

Do we really have free will? Why should we be moral? What is the relation between our minds and our brains? How can I join Philosophy Club or Minorities and Philosophy (MAP)? Come to the Philosophy Lucy Booth for answers to these questions, and more!

The Russian and East European Institute will be featuring an East European instrument petting zoo in collaboration with East European Ensemble, where musicians will explain and demonstrate their instruments. Students will also have the opportunity to make a small [fits in pocket] size yarn craft from the Balkans and Romania while they listen to folk music from the region! Our craft, Mărțișor/Martenitsa, are symbols of spring!


Several food trucks will be on campus during the First Thursday Festival, courtesy of our friends at IU Dining!

  • Stripes
  • La Poblana
  • Wever's BBQ